Is FRHI buying the Claremont in Berkeley, Calif.?

Is the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa in the Oakland-Berkeley hills being sold? The San Jose Mercury News speculates it could be—by FRHI Hotels & Resorts, parent company of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Raffles.  

But who really knows. "FRHI Hotels & Resorts does not comment on rumor or speculation," said Fairmont spokesperson Mike Taylor. "Our company is continually evaluating opportunities for growth with all three of our leading luxury hotel brands through potential management contracts and attractive acquisition opportunities."

However, sources with companies that consult with the hotel industry said FRHI has been considering a purchase of the Claremont for several months.


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"The Fairmont people have been looking at the Claremont for a long time, maybe six months," Thomas Callahan of PKF Consultintold the paper. "The Claremont is a classic property and is an icon. And Fairmont loves icons."

"Fairmont would be a great fit for the Claremont," said Alan Reay, president of Irvine-based Atlas Hospitality Group. "The interest in this hotel is a good sign that the market is bouncing back."

The Claremont hotel, which was purchased by the Paulson hedge fund and Winthrop realty trust in a bankruptcy proceeding in 2011, would probably not sell for more than $120 million under current market conditions, Reay estimated.